Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.)

Degree Granting Department

Communication Sciences and Disorders

Major Professor

Michelle S. Bourgeois, Ph.D., CCC-SLP

Committee Member

Maria Brea-Spahn, Ph.D., CCC-SLP

Committee Member

Nathan Maxfield, Ph.D., CCC-SLP


realistic, line, drawing, painting


Visual aids such as memory books have been shown to help increase recall of information and facilitate improved communication in people with dementia (Bourgeois, 2014). Because of the effectiveness of visual aids for people with dementia, this study aimed to determine if the type of visual stimulus would produce differences in the quality of language expressed. It was hypothesized that a more realistic picture in full color would elicit more descriptive language than a black and white line drawing. Verbal descriptions of Norman Rockwell’s realistic painting, Coming and Going and descriptions of a black and white line drawing of the same painting were collected in a counterbalanced manner from seven participants with dementia. Transcripts were coded for expressive language variables (e.g, descriptive content, nouns, verbs, etc.). Results revealed that the descriptions of the black and white line drawing contained more irrelevant utterances including significantly more unrelated utterances (p=0.04) and significantly more self-corrected utterances (p=0.02) than the realistic picture. No statistically significant differences were found for any other variables. This suggests that while both pictures elicited descriptive language, the descriptions of the black and white line drawing contained more unrelated and self-corrected information than descriptions of the realistic painting. More research needs to be conducted using a greater number of participants to further explore the effects of different visual stimuli on expressive language of persons with dementia.

Included in

Communication Commons